Frustration. Dare I say it, sometimes I wish I didn’t care as much. That feeling when I woke up this morning will be shared by Rangers fans everywhere reading this I am sure.
Rangers contrived yesterday to lose that game by moments of sheer madness which will mask a lot of things we actually done well. In an almost strange way, I saw enough in our set up, our tactics and our play to feel we are in safe hands with Beale in charge.
The other side of the coin is it simply confirms my feelings that there can be no room for sentiment and Rangers must recruit widely this summer.
The reality is it taught us nothing we didn’t already know. As always I speak only my own opinion and people are more than welcome to disagree, I don’t speak for anyone and my blog is simply that. So as we dive in prepare that I may have a wild take that you don’t agree with.
Rangers were set up well yesterday, they were very well organised and the press/trigger press was really well done. That meant the tide of Celtic pressure didn’t really come like it has previously. There was no near misses and whilst there was one or two shots, we were comfortable, they didn’t rip us apart at any point.
The midfield was promising and probably as close to them as we have been in a long time. All three worked and pressed really well. They weren’t fantastic on the ball but with limited options in front of them then it is possibly to be expected. But we can be pleased with that aspect of it.
The game changed on the twentieth minute when Rangers went one nil up only for it to be chalked off. It’s a poor decision but unsurprising considering the official. Alfredo is having the shirt pulled off his back, as he would when his header hit Ryan Jack in the second half. I find it strange a referee, who was so quick to punish Niko Katic, conveniently missed this. The fact VAR didn’t intervene even more frustrating.
Clancy also ‘missed’ a trio of cautions at the start of the second half when Taylor pulled Tillman back, Johnston forearms Kent and then Kyogo goes through the back of Davies. He inexplicably failed to caution McGregor when he took Cantwell down and stopped him breaking, he would be cautioned later of course. When Todd Cantwell is cautioned, correctly, it frustrates me because where is the consistency?
There was so many little moments, like the invisible fouls on Morelos right after we equalised when Carter Vickers missed a header and then when Tillman was taken down and he gave a free kick the other way.
Clancy wasn’t the reason we lost and I’m not going full conspiracy mode, we lost and it’s our fault, Clancy simply made himself centre of attention with some awful moments, moments which once again cost us.
Rangers though contrived to throw it away when they blundered three times. The first goal comes from our goal kick and Celtic score less than 10 seconds later. It’s a poor ball forward by Davies, who then lost Kyogo with ease, which is recycled and we simply weren’t set up for it which is why they made strides down the right so easily.
The second is a disaster from Ben Davies with an awful header straight to the attack. It was massively preventable. The third a ridiculous attempted pass back from Souttar which caught McGregor painfully flat footed and stuck typically close to his line. Watching him attempt to run to the pass back was almost in slow motion. Again massively preventable.
We threw it away. Three horrible moments. Celtic didn’t rip us apart yesterday, they didn’t pressure us into submission, they didn’t batter us, we gave them it on a plate and they punished us. They deserved to win because they can do that so this isn’t a sour grapes that they didn’t deserve it, they won, they did, we simply made it easy in an unforgiving way.
That’s the frustration.
Here is where we arrive at the truly difficult moments though and my opinion comes out. Yesterday simply reconfirms my position on many things.
I’ve spoken before about the goalkeeping situation and it’s gone on way to long, Allan McGregor can not be afforded a new contract and no sentiment can be allowed. He will always remain one of the best ever but this team requires change, starting here.
As for Ben Davies, I have been vocal so I won’t waste folks time overly, he’s nice and tidy he isn’t a winner, he is yet to show he can defend the big moments. I’ve seen people abuse me yesterday for that opinion and saying it’s his first mistake, it isn’t. He’s been soft in the semi final, the league cup final and other moments we have conceded before like Rugby Park. He can pass, he is nice positionally but show me any blocks, clearances and there isn’t many. For four million pounds I expect so much better, not a more expensive Danny Wilson.
It’s a shame Filip Helander is made of glass because he is a much better defender and that’s my point, we needed better last summer. It is no surprise at all the manager has spoken about needing another centre back. I’ve no issue is you disagree with me and I hope he rams the opinion down my throat in the future but I simply don’t see it, I think we need a better commanding stopper in there.
Upfront the issues are obvious. We managed to get into some fantastic positions but we somehow contrived to faff about or delay the pass because we simply don’t have that killer instinct.
That is criminal and we done that plenty of times, in fact it is a regular occurrence. The three on two break with ten minutes left will haunt me, watching Kent and Morelos contrive to waste that made me want to pull my toenails off.
But that is the painful difference and reality of where we are, they kill us off and capitalise, we dally about and lose ours because we don’t have players who can. How many games have we said, ah we scored three but should have been double?!….
Hot take and opinion time again, Ryan Kent with six goals in eighty plus games is a terrible return for a Rangers forward. He has failed every time we have played a derby this season, he was awful in the four nil hiding and goal aside as ponderous as he was yesterday at New Year. The League cup final was similar and he messed up a similar position in the first half there also.
The big question for Beale is do you cut and run or can you put better options around him? I’ve championed Kent every time, I’d move a lot to keep him but the truth is he is miles away from the form he is capable of or we think he is. He is wasteful and doesn’t have the final ball to impact games anymore. I’m not sure he can command a huge contract renewal and still be first choice without us hitting the same issues.
Then there is Alfredo. Better yesterday and probably our best attacker but as the bar was so low it’s no surprise. Alfredo doesn’t have the spark or spring in his step he once had, demonstrated by the short pass back and his attempt to get onto it eight minutes in. He should have got that but he’s miles away from where he should be. People say we will miss him and we won’t know what’s there until he’s gone, for me we will miss the Alfredo of seasons ago, not this version.
Not easy is it? Opinions are just that and remember it is only mine, but if we want to really kick on then there is four major issues the manager must address for me. They aren’t the only ones may I add, almost every position requires surgery and for a club with a Director of Football, that should never happen.
Rangers will have to get there this summer, first team starters are urgently needed but this team needs goals and it needs killers. Players who will not hesitate or ponder like we continually do now. I remain convinced Beale is getting the best out of this bunch but it’s still not near enough because they simply aren’t good enough.
Recruitment last summer, £12million on Matondo Davies and Yilmaz was criminal for what we needed. I’ve said it before and I’ll say that again now, this summer there can be no repeat.
Rangers can’t get it wrong. Beale must make the big decisions and he will be judged on that. I remain convinced he is on the right track and yesterday proves that, he simply doesn’t have the tools he requires.
But he can’t be blinded either. Make the big decisions, take the next steps or being ‘nearly’ good enough (like yesterday) will remain the normality. Yesterday was better, it’s still a distance away from where we need to be and Beale should be mindful of that all things considered good and bad.
Finally, Rangers underwent Boardroom change this week as Douglas Park stepped down being replaced by John Bennett. I wish Douglas all the best and thank him for his time in charge. It’s a change I have expected and written about before, his contribution should be well remembered.
He wasn’t without fault but to guide Rangers through the Covid years and his part in our financial recovery since 2015 should be well remembered.
As a Chairman however he didn’t communicate nearly enough so that is now John Bennetts challenge to fix and change. He must bridge the gap created between the club and the support. His first challenge will be to ensure the season ticket release goes smoothly then ensure Michael Beale has the required support this summer.
For what it’s worth, John Bennett has always come across well to me (best in class mix up aside and results have hammered him on that) and I’m very hopeful he will do a good job. He has invested millions already and clearly a big Rangers man, hopefully he includes the support going forward.
As for boardroom news, was interesting to see the reaction to the whole accounts situation last week. The deadline was met a week in advance but due to the website not showing that it sent the baying mobs into moon-howling overdrive. There was no issues there at all as Kieran McGuire has spoken about this week.
Rangers passed an AGM resolution to issue new shares to investors should they want to make investments, we have done that with £1.9m given. That money to be used for upgrades including a half a million investment in new equipment for the training centre. It wasn’t for the cash flow and it wasn’t to pay bills as some like to think.
To clarify this a bit better, I don’t worry about the club financially and being put into trouble or anything, I worry about how we are spending it. Wage bill and the calibre of signings meaning wasted money. That has been my issue for a long time.
As the outlying bills settle down, NEH for example (which has become expensive) and having settled historical issues we will have more expendable capital. NEH, the new lounge, the potential new sports bar might mean not a lot to some, but that forecasted £2-3m new commercial annual income will help Rangers long term.
That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be vigilant and it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t ask questions or make demands of this board either. There is plenty we as fans can push the board for and push for better.
4 thoughts on “Defeat reconfirms what changes are needed but positives are there to see and Beale must be backed”
We need to be careful we do not throw the baby out with the bath water here.
I hear you we need to improve but lets be honest. If we had a potent forward line that didnt miss the chances we created in last 4 old firm games the results would/could have have different, regardless of the mistakes at the back.
This has been an issue since last season, we made it to the Europa league final without a potent forward line and had to use a false 9. How different may that have turned out?
IMO we have three areas where THEY are better than us
1. Potent forward line 2. Bench 3. Injuries
If we scored more we would not have so much focus placed on the defence. I am not saying we cant and shouldnt be looking to improve but I would not like to lose Davies.
We need a better bench players that can come on and change a game or can replace others normally midfield or forwards who have given their all for 60 minutes but of the same quality.
I do believe we need 12 players but for me, McRorie and one/two other for goalie, We need cover for Tav, We have Souttar as cover for Goldson, We need cover for Davies ( when I say cover I mean to push to be first choice but both of quality. We need to see more of Yilmaz to decide if we need LB. I think we need 3 midfield to add to Raskin/Cantwell/ Lundstram and Jack.
I would be keeping Lundstram he was excellent at the weekend and showed what he is still capable of. Jury still out on Matondo but assuming given some game time he can prove himself we still need 3 wingers and two CF unless Sakala is still here to play a part.
When Sakala came on at half time it changed the dynamic, Celtic were playing a high line because no one we had on the pitch was likely to outpace the back line. Whe he came on they have something else to worry about and dropped back a little leaving more space bewteen the lines. Simply having someone with pace scared them and they couldnt play their normal game.
Whether we keep Sakala or have someone else doing the job we need pace upfront.
Tactically I believe MB has at least the measure of AP and with a better frontline and better bench I am certain he will be able to overcome them.
I could go either was with Tillman, on one hand he has not turned up in big games, on the other logic would suggest in his second season he should be better and add to that having better quality around him will also merit and improvement.
Exciting times ahead but I do not agree that all but 4 are needing to leave.
Thanks Steven for all your updates much appreciated.
Yes we need to have a great recruitment summer there is alot of big decisions to be made, I believe Beale is the right person we are playing alot better and let’s hope we close this Gap and put 56 back into are Trophy Cabinet. WATP COME ON THE Famous Glasgow Rangers.
A good balanced summary of Saturday’s game Steven and what is needed for the future,keep up the good work.
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Can’t disagree with any of your comments regarding the team has been fairly obvious all season.
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